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Show HN: My embarrassing personal website from the 90s (iwarp.com)
867 points by rpeden on March 2, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 417 comments

I miss this era of the Internet. It represents a period of time where average people used the open Web to publish, rather than post on a corporation's platform.

Obviously there's been plenty of development since then that I would not give back, but people favoring publishing their own sites rather than posting on social media is not incompatible with those developments. That part didn't need to be lost.

I wasn't going to post this yet, but fuck it: I miss that era too, and I wanted to make it easier for people to publish their websites, so I made this with a friend:


It gives you a folder, like Dropbox. Drop some files in, and you have your own website (over IPFS). It's still early, but it should work well enough. I'd love to hear some feedback, if anyone tries it.

It looks great, but there is one question out of the box for me...

What about updating the site?

With IPFS this means a completely new hash unless you're running under (through?) IPNS, to point a domain at a new hash. If it's a new hash every time, you give up quickly because you don't want to propagate a new hash to any potential users every time (in the general case).

Maybe they can track the hashes and give us subdomains that redirect to the latest update?

By the way, I've added that feature now:


Hearth will ask for your Eternum API key and will automatically update your URL to point to your latest hash. Like so:


That's exactly what we're planning on doing, we're going to add something like "username.eternum.io" or similar.

Why not full domain names?

ah that's very nice. I started building a "blogchain", which is a decentralized blogging platform, to learn how to use ethereum. probably won't release anything as I learnt what I wanted, but it's nice to see some other projects like that. congrats :)

Make it really retro - instead of a blogchain you'll need to make it a webring!

I'd be interested to see the code for it, I've been thinking about making a decentralized blogging platform that uses a unique chain for each user and would love to see someone else's take on it.

Upvote just for the term Blogchain.

Any sample sites that are based on/use hearth? Is it like a normal http(s) protocol/type URL?

Yes, you can access it both over https (through the Eternum gateway) and through IPFS. Here's my personal site:


Everyone is telling us they only platform we ever need, and at same time they all closed platform with their own API and without open protocols like RSS(dead for every big company).

There are only 214 million active sites and this number stop growing[1] In contrast there are 2 billion active FB user pages, and 65 million FB business pages and growing.[2]

[1] https://twitter.com/andrestaltz/status/969544747374260224/ph...

[2] https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/facebook-page-statis...

What's the relevance of your comment to mine?

When talking about this, people often like to joke about the webdesign back then. But the personal websites had personality. Facebook profiles feel like government forms to me... "here, fill in this standardized array of fields with your personal data."

I think MySpace ultimately represented the final form of the essentially unlimited customization of the early web. The terribleness of MySpace pages was, I believe, the catalyst that pushed the design trend in the opposite direction, resulting in the "standardized array of fields" as popularized by Facebook.

That said, given the cyclical nature of design trends, I strongly suspect that we'll eventually start to see a gradual shift back toward customization, hopefully avoiding the ridiculous excesses of the MySpace era.

Tumblr themes still work like this. Tumblr is actually an almost-perfect natural experiment on the value of customization, because there are two views of any given blog post: a public-indexed static HTML view, that the post's author can theme with whatever HTML+CSS+JS they desire; and an RSS-reader-like "dashboard" view, with no theming at all.

Polling Tumblr users on how they prefer to read pages—whether in the dashboard web-app, or by opening the links to the standalone HTML versions—would be pretty solid data on whether customization makes content overall better or worse from consumers' perspective.

I think a lot more sites should follow Tumblr's lead here, but I fear Tumblr is going to be shut down within the next few years and it'll be the last platform to adopt this approach (at least for a long time).

Why do you think tumblr is on the way out?

Possibly because it's owned by Yahoo and Yahoo seems to be going down the toilet? At least that's how I interpreted the parent.

I know I dont open tumblr links on mobile since they take so long to load.

Tumblr has never really lost its wide variety of customization. I'd argue it carried on the Geocities and MySpace individual touch. If you go from one personal tumblr to the next, they often vary to a great degree in atmosphere, color scheme, content posted, purpose, layout, etc. You also still see all the expected bizarre design choices, broken layouts, etc. that one would expect given that. Being able to customize it to a large enough degree to give a sense of one's personality, was one of tumblr's primary appeals to its large younger userbase.

Though it might also be worth mentioning that Tumblr is a total pain in the * to use precisely because of that customization. Every dang page is different and I never know what to click. Worse, Tumblr is so slow that every wrong click is an expensive loss of time and patience. On the rare occasion that I find a Tumblr worth following, I just use the RSS feed because the site is too frustrating.

I actually think Reddit nailed the balance for subreddits[1], even if it is a little more forum-ey than the social sites you mentioned.

I understand that might change soon, which is a shame.

[1] excepting /r/spackd--ks[2], as it always should be.

[2] post.get_opposite("R.I.P.")

I assume the upcoming changes you're talking about are the new "structured styles", which I think are overall a good idea. Ultimately, though, the key remaining question will be if they can balance the need for customization with some level of uniformity. So far they've been very slow with the beta test and appear to be taking feedback into account, which leaves me hopeful that the final result will be a net improvement.

I think that overall it's a good move for Reddit, as the prevalence of pleasant-looking neutral themes like Naut is a good indication that the default is not really good enough anymore. My hope is that the new structured styles will provide a good balance between customizability and clean design that other sites might follow as a lead.

My main complaint with reddit is that there's no real guidance on how to not get a controversial sub banned. It seems like the rule of thumb is don't get discovered by a social justice movement or a major publisher. Not that anything I would call valuable has been lost so far, but it's still a bad precedent.

Most controversial subs which have been banned have been so because the moderators tolerated users' discussions of explicit plans to commit violent crimes; /r/incel is a good example, or because the subreddit organized harassment campaigns, such as with /r/fatpeoplehate. Other subreddits like /r/shitredditsays and /r/the_donald complied with admins' orders to keep their garbage in the dumpster and have been allowed to thrive. Then of course there is the "do not sexualize minors" rule, which I think is quite clear. It's not perfect but there are subreddits which openly advocate eg fascism or communism so the rules do work in some sense. /r/againsthatesubreddits is unintentionally a good catalogue of the ways that the policies allow for more-or-less free expression while safeguarding the site from lawsuits. I find it all grotesquely impressive.

The big 2 that I heard about are the fappening and deepfakes.

Anyone with legal/pr experience care to give us some insight what you think reddits decision to ban those subs was based on (like were they actually illegal or just banned for bringing bad PR)?

I believe the fappening essentially amounted to copyright infringement, since Lawrence owned the rights to the pictures. Deepfakes is a little more questionable, because it's a very strange topic. However, faking a nude photo of someone could essentially be considered equivalent to claiming "this person took a nude photo which looks like this", which, being false, injurious, and appearing in written media, amounts roughly to libel, I believe. But I am not a lawyer so those are poorly-educated guesses.

Well they are not a bastion of free speech... They are a company. Create your own website if you want free speech (as far as you consider it ).

I could have been clearer, I'm aware they're a private company and under no particular obligation to the preservation of free speech principles. My point was that if we're comparing hosting your own site to operating on someone else's platform, it seems like there's marginally more freedom when hosting your own website.

Agreed. There were people who were using templates for their Myspace pages that were hideous. Facebook felt much more uniform and focused on the content (posts) rather than frivolous glitz. But today, I'm off Facebook and any other large centralized social platforms. In the suture if I decide to publish articles or blog posts then I'm going back to the personal web page.

I agree. The end of next neutrality may help here as the big players will get worse and worse as the telcos start taking them.

I need to write a love letter to Flash and how it made every website look like a christmas tree. There was so much life in there, it was a race to dynamism when we didn’t know how to make things dynamic. Now it’s all about flat design and static pages and don’t make the users learn a new UI and use the same CSS framework everybody else is using.

I don't miss Flash but the jaw-dropping impression when visiting Gabo for the first time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Y-ESJS911c

Wow, I remember that! I was amazed by it at the time. It was absolutely top notch.

But seeing it now has kind of ruined my memory of it, heh. Like replaying a video game from when I was a kid. But it's interesting to see just how much the standard for design has changed in a relatively short time.

That is sweet! And then there was hell.com and associated sites. But I find no video :( Basically, once you paid $100 to repurchase your soul, you got lifetime access, and a hell.com email address :)

On an unrelated note, that makes me think, why facebook won't make a paid subscription version? I would dearly pay 10-20 bucks per year or whatever they are getting from me and never see ads or get my data shared with advertisers.

Then the people who didn't pay would feel as second-class citizens who can be scrutinized, analyzed, and their profiles sold. That awareness would be deadly for Facebook, because not enough people would be willing to pay.

Advertisers only really care about showing ads to people with enough money to buy their products. An ad-free subscription lets these people remove themselves from the consumer pool, drastically reducing the value of their advertising product. Why take the chance of disrupting a system that's working for them?

Remember me of the Eye4U website as well :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aT4wt0fmGU

Haha that site was what drove me to flash/actionscript. There was another site too that made 3d popular and I got rabbitholed exporting stuff from 3d studio max into flash. Complete waste of time - clients only wanted boring splash screens and you had to talk them out of it.

DVD menus are annoying enough when you're trying to watch a film, and they're supposed to be entertaining. Can you imagine if every website was like that?

It was almost like shortly after stuff like Gabocorp. It became a fad. Websites were adding flash intros like crazy for a while. Music too.

And it was as awful as you imagine.

I am so glad that died. There was a time when you couldn't open most businesses' websites on Linux because flash support was shaky and everyone relied on all of it.

That was some cutting edge stuff

The first 3 times you saw it ;)

Dynamic stuff was in vogue when it was difficult to do. Same with rounded corners. Once stuff gets easy it goes out of fashion.

Hah, flat design and static except for the ads.

Jaron Lanier's "You Are Not a Gadget" has some nice thought about this point, claiming that the web in the 90s was a way more creative and personal space than today.

When I wrote Route50.net with a friend, we tried to keep that somewhat alive - to either good or terrible consequences.

Route50.net has:

* Moveable widgets * Easy theme styling * Optional complete CSS customization

And then, since one of the main points was an artistic gallery - we allowed users to share their CSS in the gallery, and other users could preview it and install it

Ex: http://route50.net/base/navarr http://route50.net/base/navarr?style=12675

I still have that feeling about Facebook. It looks and acts like the central web registry authority.

Most who were just tinkering still posted to something like geocities, but I agree that spirit has been lost. What do they do in middle school / high school web development classes these days anyway? Kind of the appeal 20 years ago was that you could learn HTML pretty easily and whip up a simple personal website like this and have fun doing it. It didn't exactly "teach" much, at least in my experience, but it was inspirational in a lot of ways.

When I took a class like that we used Dreamweaver (after writing some pages in notepad of course) and later Flash. Never learned Javascript back then, in fact our teacher encouraged us to check it out, but it wasn't part of the curriculum. It was mostly a class for anyone interested in dipping their toe in the web without any prior experience.

This is something I've struggled with. When I think of introducing people to web development I think about how I got my start - creating a website to display pictures of my newborn daughter in 1997. Only, who would do such a thing these days? People would just post those to Facebook or Instagram. Creating a web app is too much too soon in my opinion. What is a good project that has relevance in 2018, but doesn't require anything more than vanilla HTML, CSS, and JS?

> Only, who would do such a thing these days?

I would. The corporate sites you mention are cumbersome and detrimental.

Yes, creating a web app is too much, and so is a project, in my opinion. A web document is all that might be needed:

  <body><img src="newborn.png"></body></html>

Isn't that overkill as well? Not sure on the current state of ftp support but I think firefox still allows ftp browsing. We had protocols and programs dedicated to sharing stuff like this before we put them behind commercial walls.

A marketing landing page is a good example.

A lot of web development curriculum these days tends to focus on writing apps with JavaScript, or learning a new library. HTML/CSS is still taught, but I feel the “HTML is not a real language” sort of drives people away.

A big difficulty is that HTML by itself doesn't give you good ways to define templates so it's a pretty dreadful task.

Web components can change that in the future but until that it's pretty normal for developers to opt for tools that allow for creating a HTML fragment and building up HTML in another language.

Imagine if we had to do the c calling convention song and dance on every function call...

There are plenty of simple templating options still out there. Twig, handlebars, and jekyll would all be good introductions in my opinion

geocities simply made it "free" to publish on the web I thought? As opposed to being a platform that enforced complex policies

Sure, but you still had to host their advertisements. I would consider it a platform, but I also wouldn't compare it to facebook.

Are you sure that they were average people? In my experience, average people only started to publish things on Web after blog platforms enabled them to do so. The only people who published in the web at that time were people with technical background (or people who had enough free time and will to learn). HTML is not easy for someone, who's not computer-savvy and a quest to publish and support your website might frighten experienced software developers even know.

Not true. Plenty of non-technical people had a web page up like this one. Nearly all ISPs included some webspace, and enough instructions to get going. Lots of people put up something on user.demon.co.uk or geocities about themselves, their hobbies or their pets etc.

Having a web presence died off somewhat as people moved over to myspace and Livejournal then geocities and tripod started being abandoned. Then it started the rise of social, and guest books and web rings slowly became obsolete.

Yep. I miss the magic of FTPing into your ISP and having that little folder where you could drop simple HTML files.

You can still drop html files on GitHub!

If you're feeling extra fancy, you can switch to gitlab to write and publish static websites in any framework of your choice (including plain html of course but you can use any framework of your choice such as Jekyll or even Vue Nuxt) right from the browser thanks to the power of the gitlab-ci.yml file. As someone who very much dislikes installing node js on my computer, I think this is fantastic.

Anecdotally I know at least three people who gained literacy with computers through their efforts to publish personal web pages so it must be at least somewhat accessible. Incidentally it is not any harder to publish a personal web site with basic HTML than it was 15 years ago, there are just other ways to "publish" online now that are easier.

Agreed. I've lost count of how many people I've met that owe their web programming careers to the Pokemon webpage they built as a kid.

I recall kids who weren't computer geniuses would still start websites about their hobbies / interests using geocities or tripod. They have wysiwyg editors that were easy.

But of course, just having access to computers and the internet wasn't a given for many families

Yup, Dreamweaver and Frontpage were very much a thing in that era. Plenty of WYSIWYG options existed.

Didn't MS Word even have a "export as HTML" option? I feel like I might have used that initially to build the first version of my CounterStrike clan's website.

They did.

IIRC this site was made in Word: https://web.archive.org/web/20060414015434/http://easternsho... (on mobile, can't look at source to verify)

Hmm, and it renders better on mobile than some modern actual "mobile" websites

it allows to zoom to perfectly readable size, no half screen taken by "use the app" with tiny close button, no social share floaters overlapping part of the text, no functionality removed for mobile, ...

Yep, good old `<meta name="Generator" content="Microsoft Word 9">`

I knew a lot of people in school and work places that were using Netscape's built-in WYSIWYG editor, Composer. They couldn't build a site in raw HTML to save their life otherwise, but they could throw something basic together in Composer. Before that, if I'm not mistaken, Navigator 3 had some kind of simple page editor with it as well.


Yep. I built a page using a WYSIWYG editor sometime around 1995-1996, when I was in grade school. I knew the concept of nested HTML tags, but couldn't have written a page by hand (and I didn't have anyone to guide me).

A couple of years later, I re"designed" it. Both of them were about as cheesy as you'd expect a preteen's Star Trek fan page to be.

You forgot hotdog professional. Hated how frontpage mangled the code!!

That's brought back some memories for me! This is the only screenshot I could find from a brief search: https://archive.org/details/tucows_194462_HotDog_Professiona...

I learned HTML in my first years of highschool building pages in Frontpage and Dreamweaver and inspecting the source code. At the time flash seemed more promising so it was only years later, during the CSS Zen revolution that I learned proper HTML and CSS. Until then I learned flash and ecmascript to make dynamic websites in flash.

As highschoolers with absolutely zero web experience, it was peanuts publishing to the web. You could find guides on how to publish to things like geocities or other hosts (silly things like 50meg.com) everywhere. Sure we had some time, but we didn't have to put much effort in learning.

I call them average. My buddies and I were all starting up our own sites and fan pages about our favorite cartoons using homestead and geocities before we were teens. Didn't know crud about HTML but WYSIWYG editors existed then too.

I started as a middle-schooler writing html and publishing stuff on the internet. It was my introduction to web development and I was completely non-technical when I started.

I don’t think fewer people publish on their own sites today. There are just more people on the internet.

Globally that's probably true, but I doubt it true in the US as I know plenty of people that used to have personal websites that stopped.

I just stumbled on W3's ActivityPub and hope this takes off. If we can combine the independance of publishing and a way to link stuff together, it might go a long way to reduce our dependency on big platforms.


>a way to link stuff together

Maybe... hyperlinks via <a> tags?

Last I saw, hyperlinks didn't "provide a client to server API for creating, updating and deleting content, as well as a federated server to server API for delivering notifications and content".

Are there any practical applications of this protocol on the wild, or on paper? This server-to-server communication reminds me of email in a good way. It could open a door for websites to talk to each other without Facebook or Twitter chaperoning the whole thing.

Federated microblogging: https://github.com/tootsuite/mastodon

Distributed video streaming: https://github.com/Chocobozzz/PeerTube

I don't think Mastodon has implemented ActivityPub yet, does it?

Mastodon has switched to ActivityPub already

yes, me too, WebSub (previously PubSubHubbub) https://www.w3.org/TR/websub/ and Scuttlebutt https://github.com/dominictarr/scuttlebutt are in this space too with slightly different aims but a common cause of bringing ownership over content into the users control.

I'm optimistic that the move of computing into mixed reality (VR/AR) will be a grand opportunity to re-capture this spirit. But instead of making their own pages, people will be making their own places and things.

Heh, I wish. What I see is probably another walled garden.

I think the main difference was regular people used to write HTML as far as into the myspace days. Now they just share photos and write posts in broken english or within 140 chars.

Tripod pre-Lycos was an amazing learning space for me in the mid nineties. Domains and hosting were significantly more expensive than they are now (especially for a freshman in high school) and Tripod was an amazing lifeline. Little did I know that my time spent building fan sites for punk rock bands more than 20 years ago would end up having such a significant impact on my career even today.

That said, I'm ashamed of all the sites that I built with Image Maps and Frames and glorious tables!

It really is sad that the rise of the social media has meant that so many people will not have the opportunity to have this type of experience in learning front end development from the ground up.

Me too! I just went to look for my old Tripod site, and it's still there!


It is not lost. There are still plenty of tools that helps individuals publish their own web content, yet most people would simply post on social media now.

I think most people only want to get their ideas published. Whether it is in the form of tweets, blogs or their own sites, it does not matter much. If social media were available in this early era, average people wouldn't need to publish their own sites.

Which era was that? Back in the 90s average people did not post anything to the Internet _at all).

I miss it too. Also, these sites make me nostalgic and for some reason they look precious.

Or how about: "to publish, rather than promote..."?

I still have a site of this sort: a site I used to publish, which I created in the very early 2000s using my 90s html knowledge. It still uses frames.

> represents a period of time where average people used the open Web to publish

Come on, you know publishing can’t work without a paywall or your adblocker turned off, everyone knows that.

Publishing can work without those things. What's not clear is that journalism can. It is expensive to groom primary sources and investigate stories. I'm quite happy that at least a few organisations seem to have figured out a model by which they can fund such things. Otherwise it would be very difficult for me to know anything true about the world outside my immediate friends and family.

Print journalism worked fine when it was local owned, up to 3 papers.

TV journalism worked fine when it was local owned, 30 mins on up to 3 channels.

My comment is present tense. I'm talking about what can work now, not what worked in the past.

I used to have a Geocities containing weird bad poetry I wrote when I was a teenager.

I forgot about it, until years later I stumbled upon it again. I was embarrassed. I asked Yahoo to delete it.

But I'd forgotten the password, and I'd used fake personal details (wrong date of birth) to create the account, and I couldn't remember what the fake info was, so they refused to delete it because I couldn't verify that I was who I said I was.

What do I do? I hit on a solution. I decided to DMCA myself.

I sent Yahoo a DMCA takedown request for my old Geocities, and straight away it disappeared. Mission accomplished.

So they trusted that whatever was posted on the site was yours, but wouldn't believe the site was yours, crazy.

DMCA takedown process is specifically created so that hosting providers don't need to verify any claims in the notice, they only need to take the content down and notify the user who published it, so that the user could provide a counter-notice (in which case, they bring the content back up).

This needs to be a HN post of itself. Hello, people who reactively write blog posts for topical HN discussions, hello?

Have any details on that? There is a site on the net that has some of my teen prose. Really bad. Really, bad.

This reminds me of my first Geocities website: a full repository of KoRn's lyrics to date.

It's not that this didn't exist elsewhere on the internet (indeed it did, as of course I used these other sites as source material), but nowhere seemed to have the exact red-text-on-black-background look I was going for at the time.

The most excruciating part of this memory is not that I worshipped a nu-metal band, but instead that I hadn't yet discovered the magic of copying and pasting text. That's right: everything, from the lyrics themselves to the HTML tags, were typed manually by yours truly into the raw HTML editor.

I shudder to think how quickly I'd be fired today if I hadn't learned how to properly use a modern keyboard.

When I was ~12, the spacebar on the family computer broke. We didn't have a lot of money at the time and a new keyboard was a luxury we couldn't afford. The only way to enter a space was to paste it! So when booted into Windows, I'd find a space in a file name or a document, copy it and I'd paste it when it was needed (I just started learning how to code so I needed it often). Upshot of this was that nobody in my family wanted to bother with pasting a space every time, so I had a lot more time on the computer.

Imagines young suddensleep meticulously typing each lyric...

Boom na da mmm dum na ema

Da boom na da mmm dum na ema GO!

So... fight something on the... dum na ema

Fight... some things they fight

So... something on the ...dum na ema

Fight... some things they fight

Fight... something on the... dum na ema

No... some things they fight

Fight... something of the... dum na ema

Fight... some things they fight

Part of me...


I actually had a similar experience as a kid reading fan fiction for the Legend of Zelda games. I wanted to share the fan fiction I was reading with friends at school, but my family's "internet computer" had no printer, and our "printer computer" (an old Laser 486) had no internet, so I had no way of printing the stories I found on the internet.

Had I understood the concept of saving web pages (or even copy and pasting text), I could have stored the stories I wanted to share as plaintext files, put them on a floppy disk, and then transferred them to the Laser 486 to print. The idea that the text could be transferred from one machine to the other didn't really register with me, so what I did instead was to read Zelda fanfic online, then rush upstairs to the other computer with enough of the story still fresh in my head and re-construct the stories as best I could from memory. Usually, I tried to imitate the style and structure of the original fanfiction, but sometimes I would inject my own personal style or intentionally change details in places where I felt like my own imagination could improve over what I recalled of the original story. The longer I did this, the more I found myself re-writing others' stories rather than aiming to simply reproduce them, sometimes to the point where my "imitation" could barely be distinguished as an attempt to copy.

I started writing fiction professionally in my 20's (which I'd consider to be a fairly young age), and I think a big part of what allowed me to go pro so young is that under the Malcolm Gladwell "10,000 hours of practice" model I ended up getting most of my practice in pretty early (at the time not even acting with the intention of practicing fiction writing), so perhaps my inability to copy and paste text was ultimately responsible for kicking off my career as a storyteller. In retrospect, re-writing fan fiction was the modern equivalent of apocrypha (non-canon stories) repeated and passed down through oral tradition.

This is so endearing. I love your younger self's commitment to the cause of KoRn.

I actually still force myself type out anything that's important enough for me to know it or understand it. Text, code, doesn't matter. Some things I'll even write by hand if I really think it's important enough for me to remember.

Personally I can't think of anything that warrants that treatment more than KoRn lyrics.


Don't hate yourself for liking nu-metal.

I used to be a hardcore industrial fan

I loved Limp Bizkit.

There, I said it. Now I'm too embarrassed to listen to them except in the privacy of my own car. "Like a CHAINSAW! Skin your ASS RAW!"

Dude, like what you like. Fuck the fallacious appeals to shame from others.

Circa 1988 I was sitting in the high school cafeteria listening to very early techno on my big fat Walkman knockoff and obnoxiously large headphones. Acquaintance rolls up to me and says "Lemme listen." I hand him the headphones. "This is good but I could, like, only listen to this in a club." My response? "Your loss."

Years later, I discover Deadmau5, and then the whole electronic music scene that I had been blissfully listening to for years without giving a fuck ex-fucking-splodes. I could not believe it.

Just like what you like and fuck haters.

Amen. Recently bought a car that came with XM Sirius, and I've rediscovered a lot of old hip hop from the late 80s and early 90s. Nothing like pulling up to an intersection blaring Jump Around or Fresh Prince (before he "became" Will Smith lol)

When I was in high school I created a website just to annoy my cranky teacher, Mr. Davis. The concept was simple, I got people to constantly ambush the teacher in the middle of classes and hug him while I took pictures. Then I posted them to the website, Hug Mr. Davis, along with really dumb text.

It got a little out of hand, there's a picture on there of a football player tackling Mr. Davis in the middle of a lesson (I think he got suspended).

Mr. Davis threatened to sue me if I didn't take the website down. I left it up, but became the only student at my high school banned from bringing cameras to school.

http://www.oocities.org/hugmrdavis/ (click picture to enter)

Instagram.com should be replaced with this page.

oh wow im sure he'd love to see that now if he's still alive!

Isn't that bullying? He doesn't look too happy in some of those pictures.

We had a weird relationship, you might call it friendly antagonism. He was one of my favorite teachers, and I think I was one of his favorite students.

We regularly exchanged insults, and laughed about it. This idea grew out of that, and despite his protests, I'm pretty sure he thought it was funny up until a football player full-on tackled him during a lesson (was not my idea, and I even admonished the guy on the website).

Literally made my day - thanks for posting this.

That’s hilarious and I’m so glad you did that!!!

Happy pants?

Like I said, really dumb text.

This brings back memories, the days when geocities, and software like frontpage and dreamweaver were a thing.

Most personal websites were exactly like this, word art, silly animated GIFs, "under construction" images, the author being optimistic about updating the site.

Soemtimes you'd come across someone who'd made a site that more focussed around a special interest and they updated it often, a personal endevour that probably never got that many views, but my god sometimes you'd come across some gems.

That might be the best use of bootstrap I've seen.

The smoothness of the marquee text is irritating. ;-) On a more serious note (haha), awesome theme. Tempted to think up something to build with it :-D

I'm running a production site that lets you pick from 5 different Bootswatch themes... What's one more?! It's tempting...

Huh! It's choppy on my Firefox Nightly, but smooth on Chrome. Why?!

That animation on form input errors is amazing

I want to sneak that in as an Easter Egg for some serious corporate web app I'm working on in future.

This is... amazing...

great job!

Every now and then I go to the Space Jam site because for some reason they still host it. Some great 90s web stuff in there, especially all of the tiled backgrounds and liberal use of frames. https://www.warnerbros.com/archive/spacejam/movie/jam.htm

Did you know that Space Jam is one of Servo's test cases? https://ask.metafilter.com/302664/How-does-the-Space-Jam-web...

HN user kyledrake started https://neocities.org/ in 2013 and it is going strong.

Can confirm, going strong.

We don't get a ton of media attention (and when we do it's usually stupid and focused on anachronistic design rather than creative control), but we're still growing steadily and getting a lot of really interesting new web sites and traffic.

Just updated my account to paid subscriber.

My own old page: https://mat.tl/archive/1994.htm

Hey, do you want to collaborate somehow? A friend and I built this, and I know you like IPFS, plus we both miss the Geocities era, so we can probably find something to improve:


Let's at least talk about it. Send me an email.

Neocities has some experimental support for IPFS, but there's much room for improvement here.

I wanna say neocities already builds on top of IPFS. https://blog.neocities.org/blog/2015/09/08/its-time-for-the-...

You are the target audience for https://wiby.me - the search engine for old school websites

This is a fantastic search engine. I clicked 'surprise me' and ended up at http://homebrewcpuring.org - a web ring! I don't think I've seen a web ring in 15 years. I wish they were still popular; what a wonderful way to discover new stuff.

I clicked "Surprise Me" and got this creepy page:


Oh wow, that appears to be real (it predates his infamous crime.)

Clicked "surprise me" and it took me to DopeROMs, a website that I still use periodically.

We need a wiby.me for any given time frame on archive.org.

Check out the (official?) site to buy Wheel of Fortune/Jeopardy! tickets for some nostalgia: http://www.wheeljeopardytickets.com/

I don't think it's official. If you click on the links on that page, you are directed to the official Jeopardy and WOF websites. I suspect that at one time there were quite a few ads on this website. Glad it's still hosted though. I love looking at these sites, brings back a lot of great memories.

For example, when my school first got internet access. It was on two computers in the library. Each class would get scheduled time to come and "surf". You would prepare for your upcoming slot by coming up with a list of urls. I remember wanting to go to the TSN website (Canadian ESPN basically). They would list it during shows and I remember having to watch for a while because I couldn't write it all down at once... http://www.tsn.ca I would get a few characters, then have to wait for the next splash of the url.

Ex. https://www.jeopardy.com/show-tickets/

It says on the page that it’s the official page of the studio making those two shows.

Wait, Dreamweaver is not longer a thing?!?!

Dreamweaver is still very much usable:

1. Get a copy of Dreamweaver 8, or 9[1].

2. Switch it to 'code' view only.

3. Install the HTML5 intellisense updates.

4. Create a new 'HTML template' that has HTML5 header tags.

5. Enjoy!

One perfectly good and usable HTML/JS/CSS editor, with what I feel is still the best intellisense for CSS around.


[1] '8' is better, as it's before Adobe took over, added bugs and renumbered it '9'. Seriously... they are functionally the same product.

It still has functionality missing from newer editors

How can that be, why do they continue to fund development of the product if they aren't going to keep up with current trends.

I think Adobe moved a lot of that type of offering to other projects like XD, but I'm not really in that space.

That's what the wayback machine is for! It's good for most personal pages back to about '99.


It's awesome if you want to see which animated separator GIFs and crazy tiled backgrounds you were using.

Assuming the images ever load haha. This was me in 1998: https://web.archive.org/web/19981202215109/members.xoom.com/...

Ah yes the 90s...


That really brings back some memories.

https://twitter.com/wwwtxt is always there to remind you of the good times of the Internet.

See their site for more 90s glory: http://wwwtxt.org/tagged/txt

Back in 97 I had a PS1 (then known as PSX) news site on Geocities that had a weekly newsletter with game reviews contributed by other internet randos. I actually got some free games to review from companies. I was too young to think of making a backup when it fizzled out, and I couldn't find it on that Geocities archive site. That made me deeply sad.

I love it. I have an unreasonable amount of nostalgia for old websites like this. This is what the whole Web looked like back in the early days, before the usability and design gurus figured out the "best practices" and all sites started looking the same. It really was a wild new frontier. I'm not saying the Web was objectively better back then, but it sure was fun.

I just found my first website (from January 2000) in the Wayback Machine. Not gonna post it here, but it's actually not that bad -- it had a consistent header, sidebar navigation, and a collection of nerdy sci-fi jokes that for some strange reason I thought were hilarious. :/

I found mine on wayback and was shocked that you can actually make one move in the Othello game. The game ran as a CGI script (in C) and was stateless.


You might like this one too: https://www.lingscars.com/

That's awesome, but to me it is an example of retro design -- that is, a site made to look as if it was built back then, not something that would actually have been built back then. Still very cool though.

Yeah, this one's actually in use, which makes it even more interesting. Not sure when it was built though.

The copyright footer says 2004-2018.

I feel like it needs more blink and marquee tags, and a tiled background.

I actually get a little excited when I see the blink and marquee tags still being used on current websites. (yeah I know, I'm psychotic!)

Sadly browsers don't support them anymore... you have to implement the behavior in javascript and/or css these days.

Although if you search for 'blink tag' or 'marquee tag' on google, you get some fun easter eggs!

Did the web need to look like this? I was born in '83, and I was super excited to get on the net in the early 90's. Just don't know if we just lacked the ideas or if we couldn't make them look better.

Well, I certainly didn't expect this to make the front page.

I just wish the guestbook still worked. :)

I hadn't looked at the site in years and was actually surprised to find it still running. It's been on the same free hosting site for about 20 years.

I tried to sign it! You should consider reviving it.

Write it in perl.

And lets us know its working again with a blink tag.

I just updated it with a guestbook that works. :)

First update the site has seen in 19 years.

And everyone is already trying to break it.

<blink><marquee> Updated! </marquee></blink>

http://www.montulli.org/theoriginofthe<blink>tag The history of blink :) good ol' days

Yeah I wrote my own guestbook with Perl in the late 90's and it lasted the entire life of the sites I used it on. Perl is great for stuff like that and it's supported by all kinds of hosting environments!

The funny part is that even though the blink tag is gone, it can be reimplemented in CSS. :)

I clicked on the FreeServers ad... hopefully you get paid :)

It's free hosting from the 90s, so no money for me! They inject that ad in exchange for hosting the site. Hopefully they're getting their money's worth today.

My old geocities site from the 90s is long gone but from what I remember it had:

- The midi version of the exorcist theme song[0] that autoplayed

- That old animated HR of a stickman peeing onto an internet explorer button

- Various 2600 magazine related documents and links

- A whole bunch of VB6 apps I made and their source code

- A guestbook / hit counter

[0]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1PH_Y8Xn4g

BUT here's my first freelance web design site from 2001:


The copy on that site is next level cringe worthy.

Also, does anyone remember the original Andy's Art Attack when it came to design? http://www.brucelevick.com/andyart/. Make sure to click into one of the pages because the sidebar was epic for its time.

Learning how to host midis and then <object embed autoplay=true> was literally magic to 9th grade me.

There is a movement, called "tilde communities", to bring back personal pages and BBS-like communities. I'm part of http://tilde.town for instance. It's quite remarkable how the simple restriction of community size makes for an entirely different experience than, say, twitter or facebook. Knowing that I will re-encounter the same folks, and that I am not yet their friends (although we are friendly) creates an interesting cultural constraint that feels much more like a small town experience. We talk about cats, fun software ideas, and sex changes. We exchange messages on a local bulletin board. We play text games. It's fun and small, and more meaningful somehow.

That's awesome. I recently found my first site is up too(http://home.earthlink.net/~flighttime/justins/). Still running on free hosting from my family's ISP from 20 years ago. Complete with a Dodgers' schedule from 1998.

I am really glad that you are working for MLB.tv now. You seemed to have liked baseball when you were 12 and now you are working at MLB.tv.

Baseball and airplanes? Awesome! If I'd made a site when I was 12, it probably would've looked a lot like yours.

Thanks. Just looking for this.

This got me wondering if Matt's Script Archive was still around and lo and behold: http://www.scriptarchive.com/

Making interactive forms and CGIs was where I really started getting inspired to learn programming. Matt's scripts were some of the first perl I learned from. I basically transformed WWWBoard into a web-based chat back in '97.

Same here, I modified a lot of his scripts.

His stuff was great and it was amazingly ubiquitous back then. If a site had an email form, forum or guestbook, chances are it was his work.

Ah, the nostalgia. Mine is no longer online, but was pretty well archived by the Internet Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20010607062747/http://world.std....

Really makes me cringe to read some of that text, but that was high school.

Oh, and even more eye-bleeding is the page I ran for a Nomic that I was in, and webmaster (sorry, "Secretarylet of the Revolution in charge of Web Pages") for: http://www.nomic.net/deadgames/macronomic/. I don't know what I was thinking when picking that particular shade of red; red made sense, but I'm sure that even with the palettes available back then, I could have picked one a bit less painful.

We've done it. We brought down his service plan.

Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20050409065436/http://boglin.iwa...

Netscape for life. SeaMonkey is still my favorite browser.

Standing strong under HN load.

Which scaleable node js javascript react framework did you build this with?

staticfiles.js for the main page, and cgi.js for the guestbook! :)

It's not embarrassing at all! It's no different than picking on the clothes we used to wear back in the 90s. Everyone was neon, too large, and a bit too flashy. It's a product of the times.

It's always kind of neat to look at these sites and see the creativity of them. I wasn't really on the internet back then, but I do remember just looking for all of those multi-color joke sites. I love it when these sites pop up here.

I always enjoy showing people Zombo Com:


Over time, Flash died and so they kept the spirit alive by creating an HTML5 version:


Some things are just worth keeping around, just so that we don't lose our history and zeitgeist of earlier decades. We don't have photographs to remind us and if the old internet dies, we lose a huge chunk of what made today possible.

I was actually wondering about this. Say I know I'm going to die in the next couple months - if I wanted to put up a website and make sure it stayed online for as long as possible, what would be the best way to do that?

thank you so much for reminding me of zombocom. huge smile on my face when I opened the html5 link

A millennial friend is studying the early internet in college. I asked them if they had discussed webrings yet. "What's a webring??" Oh boy...

If you want a lot more of these pages, look through the webring directory. http://dir.webring.org/rw . Here is a random list of them from one user I found as an example: http://ss.webring.org/navbar?f=l;y=victoriavandyke;u=1001988...

A detailed description of webrings: http://www.jamesshuggins.com/h/rng1/webring-dot-com-system.h...

This is what internet is to me. What internet is today isn't really 'internet' anymore. Well at least not from my perspective.

Are we still on Web 2.0? I'm guessing you're referring to Web 1.0. I find it amusing that nobody called it Web 1.0 even after they started talking about 2.0.

I'm looking forward to Web 3.0, when we can have retro sites like this, but on decentralized platforms so we don't have to worry as much about hosting and bandwidth.

My personal site is nowhere near as funny as the e-commerce site that my dad and I started that was built off of his brick-and-mortar bicycle store chain. Dad edited the site with some horrible text editor. There was no shopping cart; you would email or fax your order form to us with your credit card on it. People still loved it and we were getting dozens of orders a day within a couple of weeks of launching.


As someone from India, whose internet exposure started with facebook in late 2000s, your site and other sites shared on this post by HN community are fascinating.

"bikeworld.com© makes extensive use of Netscape's advanced features... We recommend a direct Internet connection and a 28.8 Modem for optimum viewing."

Missed the early 90s; started late in 1999. However, I remember the fun Flash era in the early 21st century. I played my part religiously (my name was on the credit roll of the Flash IDE). Published my personal site[1] for the first time in 2001, with designs inspired by the likes of 2Advanced, Ultrashock. It went on for few years. I remember those days where design award was a thing. My site used to win quite a bit. :-)

I also remember using Blogger[2] to publish to my site via their "Publish to FTP" feature. I remember using a different comment system because Blogger didn't have its own. Later, moved to Movable Type[3]. Beta tested WordPress[4] at a time when it had no option to create pages. I think, by 2003/2004, my website became just a full-fledged blog, powered by WordPress and it remained to this day.

The early 00's was, indeed, an era of lots of fun and experiments.

1. https://web.archive.org/web/20020515000000*/brajeshwar.com

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blogger_(service)

3. https://www.movabletype.org/

4. https://wordpress.org/

Here's my old website: http://stuffwithstuff.com/robot-frog/index.html

At some point (alas!) I lost the domain robot-frog.com, so note that some of the top-level links on the site won't go to the right place. All the relative links should work, though.

The name of the is the site is kind of silly. I was typing random emoticons in an email and came up with [:|], which looked like a robot frog to me.

Thanks for sharing that, Bob. I really like your site's design.

I also think that the name of the site is more awesome than silly. Not that silly is bad. A bit of silly makes life much more enjoyable! :)

I love the minimalism of the site! Something you don't see often anymore.

The styling of the nav and pages here looks strangely refreshing, props.

I miss the self expression that was possible when the barrier to entry was so low, and the link chains. It really was a "web" before search engines became the hub for everything. Granted, most people probably aren't gonna design anything well, because they're not designers. But for those who do, or at least try, even a color gives you more info into a person's personality than a facebook list of places they've worked and what school they went to.

So true! Search engines in a way have both invigorated, and ruined the web. They are great because now you can find anything, but they suck because they've removed a lot of the mystery.

I loved hearing about cool websites via word-of-mouth. Starting there, and then just following a rabbit hole of links to places I've never been before.

I suppose it's still possible if enough people agree to host sites that reject crawlers.

There something enjoyable about all the bad homepages of the 90s. Pictures of people still seem "old" because the frequency you'd get to see how you looked was so stretched out. Even rpeden's first picture is an example of the general "hey, I'm here" pose. Good times, I can only imagine screenshots of square Minecraft houses will be what child of the 10's will look back at as their first dives into Computer-dom.

Some of the later stages of mine are archived: http://web.archive.org/web/20020915000000*/http://www.geocit...

Goes from dark and pompous to enigmatic.

Its original purpose (created in 1997 or 1998?) was a Final Fantasy VII fan page, but it seems that stage of it is long lost.

I think the thing I miss the most from this time was being part of a very large, global, counter culture of sorts.

Compared to today we were underground. The few of us who participated in online forums and groups.

I remember Yahoo groups and thinking about how revolutionary it was to let anyone create their own "space" for other people online.

I also remember some e-friends from the US creating an open source version of it and realizing that anything can be done.

Perfect, thanks for sharing!

My first one, 1997 I think, had a photo of my face (complete with ‘curtains’ hairstyle) that was an imagemap. Click my ears and you get a page about the music I liked; eyes were movies; forehead was books and so on. Terrible cringeworthy perfection. It was on my university network so long gone now. I doubt I’d recognize the skinny shit in the photo anyway.

Someone showed me this for searching people’s personal websites: https://wiby.me/

What a great time capsule, brings back old memories from Geocities and Angelfire websites.

On the links page he links to his friends websites, one of them is a (now obviously gone) geocities page.

I just found mine from web.archive


There is supposed to be more content, but it's ridiculously broken under webarchive indexing

Backgroundlar (wallpapers) Gif arşivi yenilendi (gif archive) Duvar Yazıları (some wall texts) YENİ 1 ICQ KULLANICISI(Toplam 17 Kullanıcı) (apparently i had a list of potentially Turkish users). İnter Emlak bölümünde kiralık ev arayan biri var (and my attempt for starting an online real estate site.

Yours work very nicely! I have discovered online ads and iframes apparently, nothing works!

XOOM counter! I can't believe I forgot that XOOM existed back in the day

When I was younger I taught myself HTML and started helping out on the XOOM support chat (forum?). They noticed my passion and sent me a job application form and seemed eager to bring me onboard. I was pretty excited and promptly completed it. Unfortunately I did not get the job. They had absolutely no idea I was only 14 years old and assumed I was much older. Man, I miss the innocent days of the internet.

yeah man, they had a whole 10MB free hosting! way bigger than geocities! I had two accounts for a website, one with pictures and one with the html. I only have the html archived :(

My favorite site to check on is Trygve Lode's site, http://www.trygve.com

Found him years ago via the Visible Barbie project, http://www.trygve.com/visible_barbie.html

He hasn't updated his blog in years, but for years I would look forward to his random posts since it would remind me of the mid/late 90s when I was just getting online, reading AOL's documentation on how to write HTML.

Since everyone is sharing there's, here is mine from 2003 (I had one older than that but it was on a public library's domain that never got cached, so this is my second oldest site). It was responsive, sorta, and while it looks like crap it still works!


It is 2018 so this is a good time to have this debate.

Geocities > Angelfire > Homestead > Lycos Tripod.

I remember holding this opinion but cannot remember why, or if it was actually informed by anything.

Kids, btw, still like to build websites like this. At Repl.it we have a lot of teenagers using our product. Here are some of my favorite 90s style website:

- Turn the volume one for this one and peep the marquee in the title: http://erikflynn.repl.co/Website/

- A music website "imma be link yall up with some good playlists" http://lexiecampbell.repl.co/Music/

- JACK WEBSITE: with a fun animated background and his "bangin tunes" http://jackburgess123.repl.co/JACK-WEBSITE/

- "HOW TO BE A BOSS AT FORTNITE" http://daremccloskey_t.repl.co/FortniteTips/

- Space website: learn about blackholes, dark matter, and more http://laser431.repl.co/Real-Space-Website/

- A kid's website with resume and updates 90s style http://anonimoussyed.repl.co/My-website/

- Shitposting 90s style http://rmalagon.repl.co/Memes/

A lot more where that came from, if people are interested I can put up a page so you can surf!

UPDATE -- here are some games:

- Car Wars (this was trending on reddit) http://sbenderschii.repl.co/Car-Wars/

- Hard pong game (use your mouse to move) http://echocoding.repl.co/Project-Classic-Pong/

- Snake game http://noahcapucilli_shata.repl.co/Javscript-snake/

- Cookie clicker http://prestonsia.repl.co/Cookie-Clicker/

- Bounce blob http://birduugaming.repl.co/BounceBlob/

- Flappy ball http://gvanminsel.repl.co/flappy-ball/

To view source it's repl.it/@<user subdomain>/<pathname>

e.g. http://birduugaming.repl.co/BounceBlob/ -> https://repl.it/@birduugaming/BounceBlob




little shit!

Thanks for sharing those! I'm having a lot of fun going through all of them.

Oh my god. This is incredible. The thing that brings me back to the 90s the most is the tiled background on the Links page. I remember agonizing over those textures so hard.

It's not you who to get embarrassed but advocates and implementors of the modern sites who say that the world does not exist without React,AJAX and MVC.

I really, really wish I could find my old Geocities website. It was mostly just a bunch of jokes I found around the Internet, and it'd be interesting to see what kind of stuff I found funny back in 1999.

It might be sitting on an old hard drive in my basement (I never dispose of them with other equipment, instead telling myself I will someday wipe them manually and/or drill through the platters).

> I never dispose of them with other equipment, instead telling myself I will someday wipe them manually and/or drill through the platters

Don't do that! Hoard them to sell on eBay for hobby money later. There is a looming retrocomputing SCSI hard drive shortage. You can already get good prices for 50-pin SCSI drives. I don't know about ATA/IDE drives, but I imagine people trying to build "authentic" systems will drive demand in the next decade as well.

They're all ATA or SATA. If anything, the looming shortage for those is like 20 years away, so...

The need for old SCSI/IDE drives is being filled by SD/microSD/CF adapters for those connector types :)

Not for everyone. I know a few people that prefer to run real hard drives in their hardware, especially when they show at vintage computer exhibitions. These people go out of their way to get old ones for spare parts and to repair what they have. Adapters are the last resort when the drives they need can only be obtained for astronomical prices or not at all.

Oh yeah, for sure, I know there are many purists who want the legit original hardware. Just that many hobbyists who just want to run their favorite old computer(s) opt for the adapter as it's a lot easier to buy a bunch of SD cards, even if the adapters can be a bit pricy.

There is hope! archive.org has many of them. Here is mine from late 90s/early 00's: http://web.archive.org/web/20021130100312/http://www.geociti...

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